Rousseff slams leaks over corruption allegations in Brazil

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff criticises corruption allegations in state-run oil company Petrobras after media leaks

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff gestures during a news conference after a meeting with jurists defending her against impeachment at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was criticised severely over the leaking of testimony to the media, following the publication of a newsweekly magazine connecting her and her mentor, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, to a crucial bribe investigation which has inflamed Brazil.

A local weekly news magazine revealed that ruling party's Senator Delcidio Amaral was in liaison with Rousseff before he was arrested in November.

He gave a statement to prosecutors in which he accused President Rousseff and former Brazilian president Lula da Silva of allegedly being involved in undermining state-run oil company Petrobas.    

In a communique issued by her office, Rousseff blamed the widespread use of leaks as a political weapon.

"Apocryphal, selective and illegal leaks should be repudiated and rigorously investigated because they undermine the law, justice and truth," she said.

Amaral expressed he could not verify the authenticity of documents cited by newsweekly magazine IstoE.

Allegations that bribes were used to finance Rousseff's 2014 re-election campaign are all a part of judicial efforts to annul her victory. 

Her campaign strategist Joao Santara was taken into custody two weeks ago on suspicion he was paid with bribe money.

The government's endeavours to maintain its credibility have been damaged due to Senator Delcidio Amaral’s prosecution and expulsion from the party and the Senate. He was released on Feb. 19, after his plea to prosecutors.

"If this plea bargain exists, Senator Amaral is lying through his teeth ... to get out of jail and save his seat in the Senate," Attorney General Jose Eduardo Cardozo told reporters.

The Petrobras logo is seen in front of the company's headquarters in Sao Paulo April 23, 2015.

Petrobras Case

The senator reportedly claimed that Rousseff used her influence to protect directors suspected of corruption in positions at Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally known.

The magazine pretended that Amaral testified that Rousseff tried on three occasions to use the justice ministry to interfere in the Petrobras probe and ensure that suspects are released from prison.

Amaral reportedly claimed that illegal funding took place during Rousseff's 2010 election campaign and said she investigated the purchase of a refinery in Pasadena, Texas, that cost Petrobras many times more than it was worth.

Other allegations of Amalda are that president Rousseff appointed a Supreme Court justice who has hindered the conviction of some directors and statesmen under investigation for bribes, ex-president Lula’s mismanaging of the company by signing overprized contracts and averting prosecutors from probing into corruption allegations.   

The public prosecutor's office said it could not comment on plea bargains until the Supreme Court approves them as valid evidence.

Thursday's allegations overshadowed what a day earlier had been welcome news for Rousseff, as the Supreme Court voted to indict her archenemy, lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha, on related corruption charges.

Petrobras, accepted as a Brazil’s flagship company, confronts deep crisis due to diminishing global oil prices and corruption allegations, which is thought to have cost $2 billion.

TRTWorld and agencies